Memorial in Jvari
5 October 1920|
27 December 1993 (aged 73)|
Meliton Varlamis dze Kantaria or Kantariya (Georgian: მელიტონ ქანთარია, Russian: Мелитон Варламович Кантария) (5 October 1920 – 27 December 1993), Hero of the Soviet Union (8 May 1946), was a Georgian sergeant of the Soviet Army credited to have hoisted a Soviet flag over the Reichstag on April 30, 1945, together with Mikhail Yegorov and Alexei Berest.
Born to a peasant family in a small Georgian town of Jvari, he worked in a kolkhoz until being mobilized in the Red Army in 1940. During World War II, he served in the 756th Rifle Regiment, 150th Rifle Division, of the 3rd Shock Army at the 1st Belorussian Front. He is credited for having mounted a red banner, together with Sergeant M.A. Yegorov, over the Reichstag on 1 May 1945.
Demobilized in 1946, he lived thereafter in Sukhumi working as a governmental shop manager. He joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1947. A year after the secessionist war in Abkhazia started, he moved with his family to Moscow where he died two months later in December 1993 in a Moscow hospital.
Honours and awards
- Hero of the Soviet Union
- Order of Lenin
- Order of the Red Banner
- Order of the Patriotic War 1st class
- Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin"
- Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
- Medal "For the Capture of Berlin"
- Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Medal "Veteran of Labour"
- Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
- Mikhail Minin - according to later researches, the first flag raiser over the Reichstag